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What Is Pili Multigemini?

By Misty Wiser
Updated Mar 06, 2024
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Pili multigemini is an uncommon hair condition also called compound hair follicles or pili bifurcati. A person with this disorder will notice several strands of hair that appear to be growing from a single hair follicle. It is usually present on the scalp of children and infants, and the facial hair of men. The cause of pili multigemini is unknown, although there may be a genetic link. Treatment for this condition focuses on the removal of the affected hair follicles to present the appearance of uniform hair growth.

Diagnosis of pili multigemini may occur after a physician makes a visual examination of the scalp and hair. Three or more strands of hair are commonly observed growing out of a single hair follicle. Some men have been diagnosed with pili multigemini of beard and facial hair, it has sometimes been located on the hairs on the back of males. The follicles with multiple strands exiting from them may appear in a linear formation on the face or the back.

What Are the Health Concerns with Pili Multigemini?

Pili multigemini is not dangerous or damaging to the skin or the hair follicle itself. The prominent concern people who suffer from pili multigemini will find is that the hair can look different than those with one hair per hair follicle, and the hair can become very thick and appear coarse or curled.

While this is not an issue with physical health or painful suffering, it can lead to a mental burden or sadness for someone suffering from pili multigemini as they feel they look different from others. 

Sometimes people report they feel itchy right around hair growth sites, but there is no medical concern or harm around the feeling of itchiness. 

Occasionally hair follicles can become infected, which can cause them to become inflamed and painful. When a hair follicle is infected, it is called folliculitis. The folliculitis can cause the hair follicle to become red, swollen, and sometimes become pus-filled.

Typically, being diagnosed with folliculitis itself is not of significant concern. Although it can be painful, folliculitis will usually resolve on its own. In rare cases, if it does not resolve on its own, a healthcare provider can help by treating the folliculitis to resolve the infection.

If you are suffering from folliculitis, be sure to keep an eye out for:

  • Fever
  • Spreading of the folliculitis to the nearby skin
  • Foul smell or odor coming from the inflamed follicles 

In addition to folliculitis, those who deal with pili multigemini are at higher risk of experiencing ingrown hairs, which can be very painful. To treat ingrown hair, applying a warm compress to the area several times a day can help clear the ingrown hair.

There are things you can do to try to lower the risk of developing folliculitis.

Some of these methods are:

  • Only shave when your hair and skin are wet
  • Shave in the direction of natural hair growth
  • Use a clean, sharp razor
  • Rinse the razor blades often during shaving
  • Dry your razor after shaving to prevent bacterial growth on blades

Extreme cases of pili multigemini have been observed where as many as 36 strands of hair were observed exiting from one hair follicle. Less severe cases have been reported where the patient had an average of 20 hairs growing out of each follicle. Most people with pili multigemini average 3 to 10 hairs per hair cluster.

Under microscopic examination, multiple strands of hair do not grow out of one hair follicle. The roots of several hair follicles are clustered together below the scalp. These strands of hair group together to exit from the scalp through a single hair canal. Normal hair grows from a single hair follicle and exits from one hair canal to the surface of the scalp.

Another pili multigemini symptom is the abnormal depth of the hair follicle within the scalp tissue. The roots are buried further within the scalp than normal hair follicles, making plucking the hairs difficult. Hair that is affected by this condition may be more coarse and curly than other normally growing hairs.

What Can You Do To Prevent Multiple Hairs From Growing?

Since the cause of pili multigemini is unknown, there are no known methods to prevent multiple hairs from growing from one follicle. However, there are things you can do to try to prevent multiple hairs from growing in one pore. 

One thought is that it is best to pluck the hairs when you see them in multiples. Plucking can damage and even destroy the base of the hair follicle, which could potentially help reduce the growth of the hair shaft itself. Sometimes it can even be effective in eliminating the hair follicle itself.

It is thought that laser hair removal is more successful and less painful than plucking to reduce the growth of multiple hairs. Plucking multigemini hairs can be pretty painful.

Switching everyday skin products such as shampoos and lotions to gentle or sensitive skin products can be beneficial. Several products we use on a daily basis can be harsh on the skin and lead to skin inflammation which can trigger pili multigemini.

Keeping a good exfoliation routine is beneficial to try to prevent multiple hair growth. Exfoliating several times a week can help remove debris and dead skin build-up, helping to support the hair follicles and keep them clean and unclogged.

There are few treatments for pili multigemini. Electrolysis to destroy the affected hair follicle may be used if the appearance of the hair growth is unsightly. Some patients undergo cryosurgery to remove the hair follicles exhibiting signs of the condition. A simple method some people use is to shave the specific hair follicles that are growing more than one hair strand at a time.

What Are the Treatments Details?

Laser hair removal works by sending light pulses to the hair follicle to cause them to grow less hair. Laser hair removal works by targeting the melanin in the hair, so sometimes it is unsuccessful or does not work as great for individuals with light-colored hair since it targets dark-colored pigment.

Laser hair removal can be expensive, results may not be permanent, and you could experience hair regrowth. Laser hair removal usually takes multiple sessions to work, and the pain during the treatment can also be very intense.

Electrolysis works by individually removing the hair one by one. An epilator is used to send radio waves into the hair follicle, taking away the ability of the follicle to grow hair. During the procedure, a tiny probe is inserted into each individual pore, and tweezers are used to remove the hair.

Electrolysis usually requires multiple sessions. Scarring and skin discoloration can also occur when getting treatment from electrolysis.

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Discussion Comments

By anon998057 — On Apr 05, 2017

This is crazy but I am a gemini as well. I have very fine hairs lie this on my face that appear as acne. I am 57 and have had this going on for years, not sure how long, I only noticed the multi strands of hair a few ears ago but I've suffered with acne for many years.

By anon993481 — On Nov 18, 2015

Nice to know I am not alone. I am a 38 year old male (and a Gemini too!) and have had them for at least 10 years now. I get them almost exclusively in my beard area and its the same as everyone posts; they are easy to remove with tweezers or even your fingers, and it does not hurt. However, they can sometimes lead to a bad case of ingrown hair which sucks.

When I am regularly shaving, as apposed to growing out my beard, I will inspect my face at the end of the day when I have some shadow and can spot the thicker hairs and will pull them out with tweezers to keep them at bay. And yes, as others have mentioned, the only pain is when I miss and pull out a normal hair. Sometimes it does seem like I pulled out a twig from my face and I am fascinated by how it comes apart into many, many individual hairs. When I go through a bad cycle (not often), I use a product called Tend Skin after every shave and it does work at keeping them from becoming ingrown (it burns like an aftershave).

The last three years have been better and do not get as many ingrown hairs and don't have to use Tend Skin. The best strategy for me, and from what I have read from others, is to keep it at bay by pulling them out when you see them.

By anon990783 — On May 09, 2015

I get these all over my beard mainly on the neck and chin. The biggest problem I get from them is they become ingrown and cause major skin irritation. Anyone have a fix for this? I try plucking and shaving but I still get ingrown hairs weekly.

By anon962375 — On Jul 23, 2014

It's so weird to see so many Geminis have this! I am one too. I call mine hair stems. I have never examined my head hair, but it is thick wavy and long. I get these in my underarms, bikini area, legs stomach and hips. They appear to be a fine dark hair but when pulled are actually lots of tiny shiny white hairs. My hair is dark. I'm just glad I looked this up and I'm not the only one!

By anon953826 — On May 28, 2014

I'm 35 and I've only been noticing them for a couple of years. I'm fairly certain I didn't get them when I was younger. I generally get them around the edges of my goatee and on the neck just below the chin.

When I pluck them, they come out very easily, and I would have to guess there are three to five hairs. They appear waxy and flat.

I've been using the same face wash for about a decade and I shower daily. I can only shave about every three days due to skin razor burn from shaving when the stubble is too short. I've also been using a feather blade razor for about six years.

I can't imagine what I'd do if I had these all the time or all over my face. They don't typically get irritated, but they do feel different when I rub against the grain of my beard. On top of feeling way more rigid, they'll hurt when I hit them, but only while I'm pushing on them.

By anon953385 — On May 26, 2014

I am 18 years old male and have this condition as well. I only have two hairs coming out of each follicle. I have it on my entire body except for a few spots. I don't have it on my beard, and I don't think I have it my head.

I have just read two of you have psoriasis. About a year ago I started getting dandruff in my eyebrow, which I understand means Seborrhoeic dermatitis, and the doctor gave me an ointment called "Topisalen" which I know also used to treat psoriasis. Sounds like a long-shot, but maybe there is a link between the two.

If anyone had any information about this condition / possible treatment, please share!

By anon949268 — On May 04, 2014

I also have had this for several years. I'm 18 and I first noticed it when I was 15. I tend to get them on my legs and lower stomach. Each hair follicle has about seven or eight hairs. I also have plaque psoriasis and anon348517 mentioned psoriasis and I have often wondered in the past if the two were related. It seems strange to be unlucky enough to get two skin conditions that are said to be "uncommon."

By anon353927 — On Nov 04, 2013

I get these down the outside of my breasts nearer the armpit area and I have done for as long as I can remember. They are not rooted very deep and I can usually pull them out just with my fingers. They come out with a sort of weird skin coating at the bottom and often looks like one big hair but if I rub it between my fingers they separate in 10 or more tiny fine light hairs. I also have more deeply rooted hairs which grow usually as two hairs coming out of one follicle but otherwise behave like normal body hair. I'm a Gemini, too!

By anon348517 — On Sep 17, 2013

I am a 30 year old female and have this only on my scalp. My hair is really thick. This started about three years ago when my dad had a massive heart attack.

I have a few pimple looking spots with 5- 50 hairs coming out of each one. I have shaved my head as low as I can go without nicking my head bald. Laser treatments are not really going to work here, so is there anything else I can do to prevent this? I also suffer from Psoriasis. Could this be related?

By anon345002 — On Aug 14, 2013

I'm a Gemini, and I get them in my beard, but I also get weird pimples on my scalp. I blame the multigemini.

By anon343653 — On Aug 01, 2013

I also get these just under my chin on one side. They usually become infected so I tweeze them out as soon as I see them. The hairs are usually either tightly bundled and can be unraveled with fingers or poke out in several direction and are more wiry. I have also found that the majority of these hairs are black. I have blond hair. None of my blond hairs are affected.

These mostly are localized to one spot, so I have a little patch in my beard from plucking them. I'm mot sure if this is related, but when I was a kid, I split my chin open in the same area. Although I didn't need stitches, I wonder if having tissue damage to that area has somehow caused this condition.

By anon342694 — On Jul 23, 2013

I have also been suffering from a similar kind of problem for the last five years. My age is 31. Most of my hair is turning grey in the affected area. I think it my be because of me plucking the clustered hair off the beard.

I would really appreciate any help if anyone comes across any kind of solution to fix this problem.

By anon335885 — On May 24, 2013

I have these in my beard. They are scattered randomly. I call them my alien hairs. I can pluck them by hand, as they come out easier than regular hair. I would also just like to point out what poster 1 said about the gelatinous sac around the root. It is strange and very sticky.

By anon332222 — On Apr 27, 2013

I thought this happened to me because I used to shave my body.

By anon326479 — On Mar 22, 2013

I have them in my neck. I didn't know what it was and looked it up. How random are these things? Mine are about 6-10 blonde/white hairs and I have a ginger/black beard.

I yank them out with tweezers, then investigate them. They are like wee tiny paint brushes.

By anon320028 — On Feb 15, 2013

@anon299624: I get these also and am a Gemini.

By anon320026 — On Feb 15, 2013

Or you can just pluck it out with tweezers.

By anon316484 — On Jan 29, 2013

I definitely have pili multigemini/compound hairs. I am a male in my early 20s and have noticed two or three hairs growing consistently on my legs. My abdomen area is scattered and my arms only have a few multiple hairs growing. It's irritating especially since some hairs are thick and become thicker as they double up. I second the post about being a candidate for test study or research. I am surprised how there is so little information on pili multigemini online.

By anon313669 — On Jan 13, 2013

I'm a female and it's only happened twice, but it happened exactly like post one said. The first time was along my coccyx and the second a bit to the left, yet still in the center of my back. I'm sixteen and I really hope this doesn't get worse and start happening all over my body.

By anon308150 — On Dec 09, 2012

My instance is exactly the same as post 1. Every description is right on.

By anon303838 — On Nov 16, 2012

If there's any ongoing research about this and test subjects are needed to participate in a study, I'm the perfect candidate. I look like an alien!

By anon299624 — On Oct 25, 2012

I was wanting to send samples to a lab but I'm positive this is what's been happening on my jaw line two times a year. It feels like a nail in my jaw and when I pluck them, which is easy with tweezers, it's instant relief but swells up big for a few hours then I'm good for a few months.

One thing I would like to note is a clear, strong, jelly looking sac forms around a large potion of the strands of hair, keeping them together upon removal. It just seems so very alien. Also I'm a gemini too, which makes it even more deeply strange.

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